The race is on for millions of people to find relief from their chronic pain. Find out about two new ways to help.
Read the full transcript »
Female Speaker: Nothing stops race car driver Mike Roman. What you can't see on the track is that Mike is a victim of MRSA, a Staph infection that ended up taking his leg. Mike Roman: When the chief of surgery he told me, that he thought they should amputate it; you know, I just was not ready. At 29, I just wanted to be that dad that my dad was to me and I did in vision that with one leg. Female: His amputation caused even more pain. Mike Roman: I woke up with phantom limb pain and you know I had been through so much, but this was entirely off the scale. Female Speaker: When drugs failed, Mike turned to neuromodulation for relief. Christopher Chisholm: Very similar to what is done for a pacemaker. Female Speaker: A small incision is made in the back. Electrodes are implanted in the spine. A remote control allows Mike to turn on the electrodes and turn off his pain. Christopher Chisholm: It's now blocked and in the instead of that painful sensation, you get a tingling sensation. Female Speaker: Meanwhile, doctors at the University of Michigan are using the herpes virus to relieve pain. David Fink: When you inject it into the skin, it goes into the sensory neuron that is right next to the spinal cord. Female Speaker: The gene from one of the body's natural pain killers is inserted into the virus. The virus acts as a shuttle. When injected into the skin, it carries the genes directly to nerves. Soon, the body produces more pain killers that block pain signals. Gene therapy and neuromodulation, two new ways that may help millions leave med free and pain free. Mike Roman: It was the first time and so I had some hope. Female Speaker: It's been a long road and now Mike is able to reach the finish line without pain, I'm Melissa Medalie reporting.